Content marketing is essential for every marketing strategy. But which content format is best suited for different channels and decision phases?
Whether content is really successful depends on the channel and decision phase of the customers. Did they look directly for the company or did they „stumble“ upon it, searching for a solution? If your inbound marketing is strong (find out more), even customers in early phases of the buying cycle might find your website. But they will need different content than customers who are already on the look for specific services and products.
The three decision phases
Awareness: A customer becomes aware of a certain topic due to their interest, trying to find a solution to a problem or otherwise. In this phase, the product or company is not yet central to the customer’s search. This phase is more about the interests and motivations of the customer.
Consideration: In this phase, customers already have an idea of what they need or how they can solve their problem. They inform themselves about options and want to know about certain products and services. However, there is no clear „winner“ yet.
Decision: Customers in this phase have clear favorites on their shortlist and need to compare to decide which one to choose. They need precise information to make a decision, including all important details (price, advantages, comparisons, etc.).
Note: not all customers go through all phases. There are customers that immediately jump to the decision phase or skip the consideration or awareness phase. If you have content for all phases, though, you can reach more customers where they are at and help them make a decision.
Content for the awareness phase
The awareness phase aims to guide the customer towards your product, company and online platforms. To do so, you need to create customer-centric instead of product-centric content. Your content should deal with the problems, needs and interests of the customer.
Inbound marketing is especially useful in this phase. You can raise interest and slowly introduce your brand. Not every awareness content leads to a direct purchase, but it can help reminding the customer of you and your products when the next purchase comes around.
Content in this phase should be SEO-optimized and shared on Social Media channels and other platforms where your customers do their research. Best for this phase are content forms that give clear, concise answers and/or are entertaining.
Content types for Awareness:
Instructions & How-tos
Definitions and explanations
Examples / Best Practices / Use Cases
Content formats for Awareness:
Landing Pages / informational pages
Whitepaper and e-books
Videos (instructional, explanatory, etc.)
Content for the Consideration phase
During the consideration phase, the customer might show interest in a certain product and service and wants to know more. In this phase, you can be more precise about your services and products, however, the customer’s initial interest and problem still needs to be part of it, because you’re not yet on the shortlist.
Make sure to communicate through your content why your product/service helps your customers better their life. Additionally, you can help your customers by giving options to compare with other companies.
For B2B customers, you need to make sure to provide buying arguments for decision makers. How much can your product raise productivity, the conversion or click rate? How much money can users save, or which advantages does your service have in comparison with other companies?
The modern customers – whether they are B2B or B2C – do a lot of their research on their own, long before they contact the company. It’s therefore crucial to make all necessary information available via your website or other channels.
Especially SEO optimized landing pages and content that’s easily available on your website are perfect for the consideration phase. This also means that you keep information on your company and products updated on other platforms that your customers might use during their research (social media, marketplaces, rating platforms, etc.).
Content types for Consideration:
Best Practices / Use Cases
Examples for product use
Content format for Consideration:
Content for the Decision phase
In the decision phase, you need to provide short, clear arguments for the purchase of your product or service with all the necessary information. This means, that you need to provide the customers with contractual, logistic and payment information.
Especially for B2B customers, sales will take over the communication in this phase, but marketing can still help by providing the necessary materials (together with Bid Management). This also means, that you need to provide contact possibilities to help customers in case they want to communicate with you directly.
For B2C customers, especially for smaller priced retail that don’t necessarily include direct customer conversation, you need to make sure that all information for the overall process is available. This includes all costs (extra costs and delivery), information on delivery times, availability, etc. Be transparent and inform early into the check-out process to avoid churn.
Content types for Decision
Content formats for Decision:
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https://www.ec4u.com/ec4u-blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/01/content-marketing_iStock-1127921799.jpg269710Juliane Waackhttps://www.ec4u.com/ec4u-blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/02/Logo-ohne-Schriftzug.pngJuliane Waack2020-01-30 11:10:432020-09-04 11:45:30This is the content your customers need to make a buying decision